God of Hosts

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 46:10

Imagine two neighboring nations. One feels slighted or insulted by the other. Retaliation. Revenge. Shows of strength. Gathering of forces. Threats escalating. Battle lines drawn up. Battle drums. War cries. Impassioned calls to arms. The two armies—with most soldiers not even knowing why they are fighting—charge each other. But before any strike is laid, God Almighty and his heavenly army swoops down from the heavens. Suddenly spears explode. Shields erupt into flame. Bows break in the archers’ hands. As both armies stop dead in their tracks with confusion and bewilderment, a voice like thunder rings out:


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Almost Famous

Fear of man will prove to be a snare,

but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

Proverbs 29:25

Deep down we all want to be accepted. We all want to belong. It’s in our nature. We are the most social creatures on the planet. Humans literally die in isolation. And because of this we all end up doing stupid stuff through junior high, high school, even into college and beyond in order to fit in. Socialization is part of self-preservation.

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Explain Like I’m Five

Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13

What does it mean to be a Christian? Don’t we all wonder about that sometimes? The world gives so many mixed messages out there about religion, life, politics, worldview, etc. If we only relied on what others told us about being a Christian, especially through the media, we would get utterly confused and completely lost.

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Gifted & Talented

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

1 Peter 4:10

Do you know what I think is one of the biggest detriments to the local church? The “professionalization” of ministry. (And I say this as a full-time minister.) Why is this such a problem? Because if churches can pay someone to do a task – preach, teach, lead worship, oversee administrative tasks, etc. – then other people don’t have to.

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Watch Your Mouth

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Colossians 4:6

My boys have reached the age where they are beginning to discover and understand “cuss words.” So watching movies and listening to music is really fun!

“This song has the ‘H’ word, daddy.”

“I know, but they were talking about the actual Hell, so it’s not a cuss word.”

“He just said a bad word, didn’t he?”

“Yep, now just don’t repeat it.”

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REVIEW: God Over Good, by Luke Norsworthy

God Over Good: Saving Your Faith by Losing Your Expectations of God by Luke Norsworthy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

God Over Good is an approachable, relatable, personal book about faith and doubt. I’ve been a long-time listener of Luke’s podcast, “Newsworthy with Norsworthy,” so many of the main points and the stories were familiar. But since I’m somewhat late to this (about 3 years post-publication), they still seemed fresh.

I appreciate Luke’s honesty and vulnerability, which is definitely not easy to do in writing, much less for someone with a podcast audience and an active preaching ministry. But it’s his honesty that makes it work. Luke doesn’t really sugar coat anything. He, like many of us, has been disillusioned with God and on the brink with his faith. Speaking from experience as a minister, that’s a very precarious situation to be in. It can be downright scary.

If you read this book, be prepared to have many of your assumptions challenged. Through the power of story-telling, Luke is able to get us, his readers, to lower our own defenses, question our own preconceptions and expectations we have about God, and follow him on a journey to rediscover the beauty and the mystery of God revealed in Christ.

Overall, I think this book is needed more and more among our church members and pastors. When churches go into survival mode, the demand for adherence to “secondary” beliefs becomes a harsher battle ground. I’m afraid the dominoes have started to fall for many in our congregations. It’s time for a paradigm shift of what faith actually means and looks like going into the 2020s and a post-pandemic world.

I highly recommend God Over Good and Luke’s podcast, Newsworthy with Norsworthy.

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Ew, Feet!

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”

John 13:14

Most of us hate feet. We hate having other people’s feet close to us. We hate other people touching our feet. We don’t even like looking at pictures of feet. So, can you imagine having to sit down around a meal with a bunch of guys who have been walking along dirt roads in sandals all day – and YOU have to wash them?

Ew, David!

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7 Mind-Blowing Truths About Jesus

There are those who claim all the divinity-stuff about Jesus – you know, the miracles, the resurrection, the “God in the flesh” stuff – was made up after the fact. They want us to believe Jesus was just a good teacher whose stories got blown out of proportion and became the stuff of legend and mythology. But I think it’s pretty clear from very early on Jesus’ disciples believed him to be the Messiah, the Son of God. They understood (post-resurrection) who Jesus really was and is. This is the message about Jesus they ended up carrying to the ends of the earth.

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Ya Dead Mon?

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12 | NIV

The bobsled barrels down the winding course, more grueling than anything they had encountered on their unlikely journey. The team of four is making great time. They’ve proven they could go from pretenders to contenders. The crowd is stunned. Just as they near the end of the course, a bolt on the sled’s steering system shakes loose, sending the whole sled into an unrecoverable fishtail. They ricochet between a couple walls. Next thing they know, the whole crew find themselves sliding on their helmets, upside down for another several dozen yards. The crowd stands in shocked silence, only broken when the team leader, Derice, calls out to his teammate, “Hey Sanka, ya dead mon?”

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Good Guardrails

Proverbs 13:6

Righteousness guards the person of integrity,

but wickedness overthrows the sinner.

You want to know another thing that breaks my heart? The unending number of stories about pastors and ministry leaders who lead sinful, even criminal double lives. There isn’t much out there that can get my blood boiling more than hearing about men who use their position of authority to abuse innocent people under the guise of ministry. There are too many to even name at this point.

But what made me do a double-take recently was the number of pastors on Twitter who, in response to the news about Ravi Zacharias, said things like, “This could easily have been any one of us.” If that’s the case, then get out of ministry and get help. I understand wanting to extend grace and even empathy, but he is guilty of a pattern of criminally abusive sexual predation. That doesn’t just happen.

Today’s verse from Proverbs reminds us how important boundaries are. Jesus didn’t just warn against murder and adultery. He warned against the corrupting power of anger and lust. Outward sinful actions always start in the battleground of the heart and mind.

“Righteousness guards the person of integrity.” Righteousness is all about doing the right thing – even when no one is watching. Joseph is a good example of this, maintaining his commitment to God in slavery and prison and Pharaoh’s palace. The church needs more men and women of integrity, those whose lives are consistent across all the spheres in which we operate. That starts in the heart and mind. Then we build patterns of behavior and guiding principles to protect us from the infiltration of sin.

“Wickedness overthrows the sinner.” When Cain was angry with Abel, God warned him, “Sin is crouching at your door. It desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Cain had a choice. We always have a choice in any given situation. God always provides a way out. Sin always promises more than it delivers. It takes more than it gives. If we think we can handle it, we’re deceiving ourselves.

The good news is every day we get to make a choice about what kind of person we want to be. You can always start over. Every day is a new chance.